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I originally bought my Aerogarden for a couple of reasons:
1 – It’s relevant to this website and I thought it’d be cool
2 – The idea of being able to make pesto whenever I wanted was enchanting
Aerogardens are expensive, and certainly take a long time to earn their keep, but if you’re interested in learning about hydroponics, or just like cool gadgets and plants, I think they’re a pretty solid investment.
This is the one I got (just from Amazon) and I love it. I love that Aerogardens can be as simple as ‘put pod in, fill up water when blue light goes red, add food when green light goes red, wait, eat’ but you can also use them to grow flowers, start seeds, or, as I discovered propagate cuttings.
How to grow cuttings in the Aerogarden
Simply treat your Aerogarden like a fancy pants glass of water with six holes. I reused the same pods that my kit originally came with and just stuck the cuttings in the pods. If they float to the top, just pull the stem through one of the holes in the side of the pod, and they should stay.
And then it’s just a matter of waiting.
The beauty of using an Aerogarden is that you don’t have to worry about changing the water, since the pump adds plenty of oxygen to the water.
I do like to keep an eye on the water level, especially if the nodes are quite high up the stem and are in danger of rising above the water level, but even then, I’ve found that I only have to top up the Aerogarden every month or so – propagations don’t go through nearly as much water as herb plants with a tonne of roots.
Once the roots are a few inches long, you can transplant the props in to water, leca, or soil.
What are the advantages of propagating cuttings in the Aerogarden?
- You don’t have to worry about changing the water
This isn’t a big deal to some people, but I’m terrible at remembering to change the water. As i mentioned in an article about propagating ZZ plants, not changing the water won’t necessarily kill your propagation, but it can dramatically slow down the rooting process – the increased oxygen in a system with a pump really speeds up rooting.
- There’s a grow light right there
Plant people argue a lot about light and propagation. Some say a lot of light is good, others claim light is the devil.
An Aerogarden does its best to recreate the whole ‘roots in the dark, leaves in the light thing’ especially if you leave the pod covers on (which you should, but if you’ve already taken them off, use tinfoil to make more).
It’s the best of both worlds!
Disadvantages of propping cuttings in the Aerogarden
- Aerogardens are expensive
I personally think they’re worth it because they’re so easy to use and a really great way to learn about hydroponics.
When I bought mine I had no intention of using it as a propagation station – it was just a spur of the moment idea that worked really well.
They’re certainly not necessary to propagate plants, and cheap air pump may be more helpful to people.
- They have limited space
For those of you that do a lot of propagating, Aerogardens aren’t the most efficient use of space, since, in mine at least, there’s only six spots.
If you’re looking to bulk-prop, you’d be better off with a big plastic box, an air pump, and some sliced pool noodle to keep the props in place.
How long does it take to root cuttings in the aerogarden?
It depends a lot on the plants, but I’ve found that the Aerogarden can root cuttings up to twice as fast as a glass of water on a windowsill.
I have written a whole article about this, but the rate at which propagations root depend on a tonne of factors.
What I have found is that plants that typically take me a long time to propagate, like hoya and ZZ plants, roots really quickly and really well in the Aerogarden. My Hoya bella cutting was producing new growth whilst she was rooting, and I wasn’t even adding in nutrients.
By the way, I’m not fastidious about adding nutrients when I’m propagating in the Aerogarden, but when i do, I just add the nutrients that I got with my herb pack.
Can you grow succulents in the aerogarden?
To be honest, I’ve not tried it, but I will once I get some pods. My preferred way of propagating succulents is to let them do it themselves.
Because you can’t take cuttings from most succulents in the way that you would for other house plants, you’d struggle to use the same method of propagating in the Aerogarden that I’m describing. I suppose if you had a small cutting, you could put it in one of the grow anything pods, wait and see.
HOWEVER you can grow some succulents from seed, and I don’t see why you couldn’t use an Aerogarden to do that.
Similarly, if you used a blank pod as soil and laid a leaf on top of it (like you’d propagate a succulent leaf the usual way), it might work. It’s something i really need to try when i get more pods in.
What house plants grow well in the Aerogarden?
The biggest success for me was Hoya. They root SO QUICKLY in the Aerogarden. I mean we’re talking weeks here, not days or anything, but still much quicker than rooting in regular water.
Once the roots start, they don’t stop. Be sure to check often that you can still easily remove the pod. I thought my ZZ prop was going to have to live in there forever.
Some plants that you think will root well in the Aerogarden root…averagely. Pothos, for example aren’t great. My Epipremnum pinnatum isn’t that fussed about roots, but he’s put out two new leaves…under the water. I mean, it’s his life. he can do what he likes.
My Aglaonema is loving it in the Aerogarden – we can see a new leaf starting to grow:
I was recently filming a video about my Peperomia Hope, and accidentally snapped the bloom off. I removed most of the leaves and popped her in the Aerogarden and we now have tiny roots. It’s very exciting.
How to transplant from the Aerogarden
This is the worst bit of the process, but I don’t think it’s any worse than transplanting cuttings that have been in water.
The thing you need to remember is that roots need oxygen, and water roots absorb oxygen from water (like fish do) and soil roots absorb oxygen from the air (like we do). Plants will grow soil roots if they’re planted, BUT you’ll need to keep the soil damper than usual for a few weeks until they get established.
If this sounds like too daunting a process, but your plants have outgrown your Aerogarden, you can pot them up in leca instead. Since they have water roots already, you don’t need to make sure the roots aren’t in the water – do try to abide by the rule of only filling the reservoir a third full though, to allow for adequate air flow.
Whilst I certainly wouldn’t recommend every plant lover goes out and grabs an Aerogarden, they are a nice bit of equipment if plants are your thing. They provide a nice segue into growing vegetables, and are both pretty foolproof, whilst still being useful kit for the more seasoned horticulturist.